Just as we discussed in Chapter 2, you can use relative pitch to identify chord quality completely by ear. Rather than use individual songs, however, you can use musical perception. Here are some examples to get you started as well as songs/situations where those chords have been used.
Major chords: Many musicians associate major chords with bright, happy times. This perception is further reinforced by movies and popular music. Love songs are often in major keys. Watch a movie and listen to the soundtrack. Whenever the good guy wins, you can bet that a major key/chord is being utilized.
Minor chords: Minor chords have long been associated with sadness and melancholy. Whenever Darth Vader (or any of the Empire) is around in Star Wars, you can bet that John Williams opted for minor chords/keys. Beethoven's beautiful “Moonlight Sonata” starts out in a minor key/chord.
Diminished chords: Diminished chords are a bit harder to identify, since they are less common and we don't hear music in diminished keys. Diminished chords often appear in the soundtrack duringsuspenseful situations. Got a girl tied to the railroad tracks and the train is approaching? Use a diminished chord; most cartoons, old movies, and soap operas do.
Augmented chords: Augmented chords are also difficult to talk about because they are also fairly rare. While diminished chords are suspenseful, augmented chords often sound dissonant. Although they can be quite beautiful in context, they are rarely consonant on their own.
Listen to each of these chords; get to know their sounds. It will help you as a music theorist and as a musician.
ETUDE 7.1 Etude One
Write major triads from the following notes
ETUDE 7.2 Etude Two
Write minor triads from the following notes
ETUDE 7.3 Etude Three
Write diminished triads from the following notes
ETUDE 7.4 Etude Four
Write augmented triads from the following notes
ETUDE 7.5 Etude Five
Write major scales from the following notes, harmonize with triads and name the chords.